Two received into Novitiate and a Youth Leadership Conference in Joliet
What a weekend! On Thursday, June 25, Bro. Tim and I drove to Cedar Lake, IN for the Reception Ceremony for six new novices; two of whom are from our Saint John the Baptist Province. Pictured at far left is Kevin Janke, O.F.M. and at near left is Michael Charron, O.F.M. These men will be at Cedar Lake for a year at the end of which they will make their First Profession of Vows--as did five of our men on June 15. (See a video of the profession ceremony on YouTube at Profession Highlights .)
After the ceremony, Bro. Tim and I went to Chicago to stay with two of our friars. On Friday we drove to Joliet, IL to participate in the Youth Leadership Conference of the Diocese of Joliet. We arrived around lunch time and set up our vocation display and waited for the program to begin. Being that this was my first year there, I had no idea what to expect. By 2:00 p.m., as the formal program began, I was already excited about what I saw. 800 young people with their parish youth ministers, a number of fellow Religious men and women, about a dozen diocesan seminarians and the local bishop cut loose for what would prove to be a high-energy, Spirit-filled event. In the evening we celebrated a Penance Service at which 34 priests heard confessions for almost two hours.
Saturday began with an outdoor Eucharist on the quad of Lewis University which hosted the weekend. It is a beautiful campus with very adequate facilities for such an event. Later that afternoon, the group had time to recreate at the same location. A large game of "Red Rover" seemed to be the main entertainment. But there were also frizbee and football tosses as well.
The day ended with a powerful presentation by the Emcee for the weekend, Mr. Jesse Manibusan (pictured left). The energy in the field house was palpable as was the present of the Holy Spirit. Sunday everyone showed up in more formal attire as we worked our way through the schedule toward the closing Eucharist led by Bishop J. Peter Sartain. The bishop had been with us the entire weekend participating and giving a couple of well-received talks. (I have no pictures of the Mass because Bishop Sartain asked that all of the Religious and the Diocesan Seminarians process in with him and sit in the santuary.)
Brother Tim and I drove home Sunday night very tired but thrilled to have been a part of the weekend. It was, without a doubt, the very best youth rally I have ever been a part of. I found it encouraging to be with so many teenagers who are excited about our faith and with the seminarians who are so enthused about their calling.
Finally, I want to add a reminder that our younger Friars are still on pilgrimage and a record of their progress is recorded via emails sent into a blog by those along the way who have met them. You can read these comments by clicking on Walking With Hope.